ASK THE EXPERTS

hcdhd

Our Experts, will answer your questions on Human Resource Management, Performance Management, Training, Change Management and Managing People. Ask Now...

POST YOUR QUESTION HERE
It is observed that the attrition levels in organizations working 5 days a week is lower than those working 6 days a week. Would you consider that the "5 day week" phenomenon is one of the key factors for choosing a job now a days?

Whether the attrition level in organizations working 5 days a week is low as compared to those working for 6 days is not yet well researched. However, on one hand today, more executives are prepared to slog it out till mid forties and invest wisely to enjoy la retired life thereafter.You would have seen some insurance ads also sending a similar message. 

There could be an increase in work hours in some industries due to globalization. There probably are many who therefore had a very strenuous career in the past years and do not mind a lesser growth in their career for a few years to avoid experiencing burnout and increased stress. This is seen in nearly all occupations from blue collar workers to those in top management. Organizations having greater working hours or 6 day -week, are also seeing a rise in workplace violence, an increase in rate of absenteeism as well as evidence of an unhealthy work life balance.

A study done in US indicates that nearly fifty percent of top corporate executives are leaving their current positions, sixty-four percent of workers feel that their work pressures are taking a toll on them. This study also shows that seventy percent of US respondents and eighty-one percent of global respondents say their jobs are affecting their health.

There are others who are looking for spending time with family, friends, and pursuing activities that one enjoys and taking the time to grow personally and spiritually. There is thus an increasing number of people, who are looking at those companies that offer them a 5 day week rather than a proportionately higher salary package.

Some organizations have started thinking offering a range of different programs and initiatives, such as flexible working arrangements in the form of part time, casual and telecommuting work to lure good professionals. But this is still in the nascent stage.

Thus we see two different trends in our country at the moment -------- those who are prepared to slog to have an early retired life and those who are prepared for a long career with lower salary but fewer man-hours of work during the week.

Hope this answers your question.

Harshad Assoldekar, 22 October 2009
How does an organization create a Culture where employees feel that it is the best place to work?

The things that really make the difference are the practices be they leadership, management, operational or human resource. In turn these need to be aligned to the strategic objectives evolved from the vision / mission of the organization. These impact the internal branding and the hiring processes of the organization. In turn these have an effect on the quality, service and customer satisfaction.

The HR team also needs to perform "interventions" with low-performing managers, giving them input on how they can make the work environment more  positive. "The system holds managers accountable to motivate their staffs to their highest performance”.

Organizational cultures, attitudes and behavior flow from senior executives. In turn they should ensure that employees are aware of how their attitudes, cooperation, responsibility, communication skills and attendance affect the organization. To do this the people at the top need to get a grasp of their current organizational culture. This may seem obvious, many companies are very eager to make changes that they hurry through this preliminary step or skip it altogether.

Watch for employee resistance. This is the most common barrier to making cultural changes. Often rooted in fear of the unknown, resistance reflects people's desire to keep the status quo, as well as a belief that the change will not be successful anyway. Changing the culture of business is inherently threatening and stressful because it challenges employees' long-held beliefs. For employees to accept change, they need to understand the external and internal pressure on the company that makes change necessary. Otherwise, they can be very resourceful in sabotaging efforts to implement change, often by demonstrating unwillingness to  commit to change. They may be pretty cynical, especially if the organization has attempted changes before that turned out unsuccessfully.

The situation and the awareness must be significant enough to produce the  motivation to do something about the problem. Tell the employees what is effecting the organizational change, whether it's competition, new regulations or  something else. Let them know that top management is involved in supporting and in implementing the change efforts. Share with the employees any operating, behavioral or organizational performance data to persuade employees to strive for change.

This whole process may be rocky; management and employees must be willing to put difficult, uncomfortable issues out in the open. It may be necessary to bring in an outside expert to facilitate the discussion. They often play a role in analyzing a company's existing structures and fostering communication on issues and attitudes that managers find difficult to identify or would prefer to ignore.

Things to look at as progress check, while on way to implementing change

  1. Ensure the endorsement or involvement of top management.
  2. Identify early adopters of the new behaviors or those whose existing sub-culture matches the new, and have them champion change throughout your organization.
  3. Establish a communication strategy, (both top – down and bottom – up).
  4. Communicate the reasons for change, which help employees identify super-ordinate goals.
  5. Assist employees to overcome personal fears and how to accept change.
  6. Encourage responsibility without risk of failure/loss of job.
  7. Examine the use of current systems and structures (such as performance management and incentives) to foster desired behaviors.

Monica Sharma, 21 October 2009
Does a Candidate being interviewed, need to Fit the Organization's Culture?

A part of the answer was in the earlier question. Generally an organization hiring considers only a candidate’s "hard skills"---- education, training and experience  during the interview process. Failing to address the "soft skills" of that candidate means you are not hiring the complete person and this can mean the difference  between a great fit with the company and one that feels wrong from day one.  Therefore, before you make a hiring decision, it is important to get to know the  whole person, not just his or her technical abilities. Ask your self questions like  "What will motivate this person if he were to join my organization?" and "Will this candidate thrive in the existing work environment? Answers to such questions can mean the difference between hiring someone who will last six months or a fairly long tenure where he/she delivers results.

Testing might reveal that your candidate enjoys working in a fast-paced office with lots of opportunity to interact with other employees. Testing can also  disclose whether or not your candidate feels a sense of urgency about completing projects. If your company is deadline driven, this is important information you need to know before you make a hiring decision. Testing is one of the several means by which an organization can determine if the candidate is right for your organization.

The loses incurred as a result of making wrong hiring decisions could be  appreciable and time to recovery could also be long.

Dev Kulkarni, 21 October 2009